DAVAO ORIENTAL – Governor Nelson L. Dayanghirang says that keeping the safety of thousands of athletes and spectators is among the top priority of the Provincial Government for the upcoming biggest sports event in Southern Mindanao.
Anticipating around 6,600 delegates to take part in 21 different sports events and 26 competitions, top officials of the Provincial Government of the host province, Davao Oriental, have assured to observe tight security for the 2017 Davao Region Athletic Association Meet.
“Preparation is now in full swing to ensure the success of this event – from the security, logistics to emergency plan,” said the Governor during a Press Conference at the Provincial Capitol on Feb. 23.
Provincial Director of the Davao Oriental Provincial Police Office PSSUPT Harry Espela said that teams from the police and military have already been organized as part of the security preparation. He explained that part of the security plan is to put up checkpoints and to deploy security personnel in the streets and in the province’s borders.
“We are providing more or less 675 security personnel including those from the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police,” he said, saying that these personnel are tasked to patrol the premises of the playing venues, billeting quarters, and the other strategic areas within the City of Mati. He said that intelligence teams will be deployed to monitor potential threats and illegal activities of “lawless elements”.
Other measures included in the security plan is to tap Civil Disturbance Management (CDM), Special Weapons and Tactics Team (SWAT), Explosive Ordnance Disposal Team using K9 units, Quick Reaction Team consisting of “immediate response crew in cases of untoward incidents”, and Emergency Medical Teams from the AFP. Coastguards to secure the coastlines will also be positioned. Anticipating the heavy traffic flow, plan for traffic control along the roads leading to Mati Sports Complex is now being prepared.
In addition, security personnel will be installed in the province’s tourist destinations “in case delegates want to visit some of our tourist spots”. Espela stressed that a tight security will be observed throughout the activity. Among the measures that the police will be enforcing is the prohibition of carrying backpacks to the opening ceremonies at the Sports Complex and throughout the entire duration of the event at the playing venues.
As for disaster preparedness, Espela bared that a Multi-Agency Coordinating Center to be housed at the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council Center near the Mati Sports Complex will be put up. Committees for emergency response have also been already set.
“Government forces are doing their very best in ramping up security measures, not only for man-made disasters but also for natural calamities,” Espela said, noting that evacuation areas have already been identified and that medical teams ready to respond in cases of emergencies will be on standby.
Governor Dayanghirang said he wants security measures beefed up as the Provincial Government intends to promote Davao Oriental as a premier tourism hub in the region. “We expect a huge number of guests who will be coming and one way to promote our province is by establishing a top-notch security,” he said. “It isn’t often that we have the opportunity to host an event as big as this one and we are proud and grateful and privileged to host the biggest sports event in Southern Mindanao.”
“This is also an opportune time for us to showcase our hospitality and the wondrous and unique beauty of our province, being the new premier eco-tourism destination in Mindanao,” he said.
Aside from promoting Davao Oriental’s tourism, the swarm of people who will participate in the DAVRAA Meet will provide economic opportunity to local businesses and the transport sector, particularly in the City of Mati.
Delegates from the different parts of the region are expected to start arriving as early as March 12 to familiarize themselves on the playing venues. The six-day event is slated to formally start on March 19 and end on March 24, says City of Mati Councilor Ma. Gracia Tiago, who heads the Arrival, Welcome and Departure Committee for the DAVRAA Sports Event.
Participating provinces and cities for the upcoming 2017 DAVRAA Meet are Compostela Valley, Davao City, Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur, Davao Oriental, Digos City, Island Garden City of Samal, Davao Occidental, City of Mati, Panabo City, and Tagum City. By Karen Lou Deloso/Photo by Eden Jhan Licayan